FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. and Arkansas Research Alliance (ARA) president and CEO Jerry Adams signed a Partnership Intermediary Agreement (PIA) that should help boost the state’s tech sector.
Under the PIA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will provide technology-related assistance to Arkansas-based research institutions and identify agency-developed technology that may be potential candidates for commercialization. FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) near Pine Bluff will administer the program.
“The agreement opens new channels to assist the FDA and spurs economic growth opportunities for Arkansas businesses,” said Adams. “Being in a position to help FDA and NCTR with technology transfer efforts accelerates our effort to strengthen economic development locally, nationally and globally. This is an innovative agreement with wide-reaching potential for all partners involved.”
“The Partnership Intermediary Agreement with ARA will further strengthen the role and work of the FDA’s NCTR by facilitating the transfer of technology to the private sector,” said Hamburg. “This is the latest in a long and productive history of such public private partnership with NCTR and the FDA.”
The PIA signing is the most recent result from a state of Arkansas and FDA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Gov. Beebe and Hamburg in 2011. The MOU established a virtual Arkansas Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science.
Regulatory Science is the science used by industry, academia and government to assure that products are safe and effective. Beebe appointed UALR’s Dr. Mary Good and NCTR’s Dr. William Slikker to co-chair a working group focused on guiding the implementation of this MOU.
According to ARA, results from the MOU to date include:
- A graduate regulatory science curriculum/certificate program implemented at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) with 18 graduates so far;
- A collaborative nanotechnology research program representing Arkansas’ five research universities and NCTR;
- A cooperative effort to facilitate the transfer of technology out of NCTR and into more public availability;
- Identification of the bases for a collaborative research program in the area of bioinformatics, which combines the science of information technology with biological sciences; and
- A provision to develop other mechanisms for industry, academia and government to participate in mutually beneficial activities.
The ARA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization comprised of chancellors from Arkansas research universities and CEOs from across the state.